Student Success During COVID

Since the pandemic began, what life looks like for each person has changed. We understand that the start of the semester is already a kind of stressful time and facing it alongside a pandemic doesn’t make it any easier. The key is to strike a balance between being flexible and yet still having some organized structure to your daily life. We also know that you may be taking online classes for the first time or taking a course online that you may have normally wanted to take in a traditional face-to-face setting. To help you prepare to succeed in your classes regardless of how you’re taking them, we’ve put together a series of resources and hopefully helpful guides you can use throughout the semester.

Online Student Success/Campus Resources

Helpful Stuff

Remember to cite your sources! Most of this comes directly from or based off of resources from Oregon State University - 

  • Click here if you like worksheets you can print out and check off by hand....

    Before the Semester Begins

    • Use the KSU Bookstore website to identify textbooks, technology and resources needed for class 
    • Review your class schedule by logging in to Owl Express -> Registration -> Display Your Class Schedule and Grades 
    • Access your KSU Student email 
    • Access D2L Brightspace to check for available syllabi, due dates and announcements 
    • Make a list of questions you have about each of your courses (see “Questions to ask” for ideas) 
    • Identify which classes have synchronous meetings (either online or on campus) 
    • Identify additional technology or learning platforms needed for your classes 
    • Schedule a virtual or phone advising appointment to make sure everything is good to go 
    • Create a weekly schedule for the first 2-3 weeks of class 
      • Schedule time for synchronous class sessions, review of online content, assignments, work, breaks, sleeping, etc 
      • Leave flex time in case tasks take longer than expected 
    • Identify a quiet space for studying and remote learning 

    First week of classes

    • Attend any synchronous class sessions 
    • (optional) Visit office hours to: 
      • Introduce yourself and get to know your instructor 
      • Ask any questions you came up with about your course, technology, assignments, etc. 
      • Ask if your instructor can suggest some strategies for learning 
      • Identify campus resources being offered remotely that can support your success 
    • Complete readings, assignments, or quizzes 
    • Put together a Term-at-a-Glance cheat sheet (see below expandable area for an Excel workbook you can use) that lists all known dates for assignments, quizzes, and tests for all of your classes 
    • Create a GroupMe chat for your classes and invite your peers. Reach out to see if they want to form virtual study groups, when and how often you can meet, who will host the meeting, and on what platform you will meet 

    2nd week of classes

    • Revisit the weekly schedule you made before classes started 
      • Evaluate time needed to prepare, attend, and study for each class 
      • Revise schedule given your current knowledge of courses and other commitments 
    • Create a study cycle for each course 
    • Identify key concepts you’re learning for each course 
    • Use the 80/20 rule (80% of time on new material; 20% of time on review) when studying 
    • Create and collect ongoing visual diagrams or notes summaries to track past/new concepts, and see how they relate to each other 
    • Begin studying and planning study sessions for your first test 


  • 10 Questions to ask about your course 

    1. Do I have access to the course in D2L? 
    2. What textbooks are required for this course? 
    3. What technologies are required? Will I need access to online platforms, programs, or software to complete coursework? 
    4. Does this class have synchronous class sessions when I need to meet my class online at specific days/times each week? 
    5. How and when will office hours be held? 
    6. What are ways I can contact the instructor? 
    7. What are the major assignments for this course, and what are their point values (how much they count in the final grade)? 
    8. How do I submit work for this course? 
    9. What academic resources (besides the instructor) are available to support me in this class? Remember to include campus resources, classmates, and study groups in your list! 
    10. What questions do I have about the course, and who could answer those questions? 

    Questions to ask about completing homework 

    1. What should I have on hand when completing homework?  You may need your textbook, lecture notes, a calculator, or other resources to complete homework. Save time by gathering all your materials in advance. 
    2. How much time does homework usually take?  Learning about your instructor’s expectations can help you plan enough time for homework and assess when you need support if homework routinely takes longer than expected. 
    3. How am I expected to format my responses? Each professor may have preferences about how they want you to format your homework, or what type of file they want you to submit it as. Double-check format to submit answers correctly the first time – even small deviations can impact your score. 
    4. How can I use homework to assess my performance in the course? Knowing how homework relates to course concepts and exams can help you track progress and identify when you need support resources 
    5. Are there additional resources available when completing homework? Knowing your resources prepares you for if you have questions or get stuck on a problem – like TA’s, tutoring, or additional online resources 

    Questions to answer for remote exams 

    1. What day and time will the exam be held or due? 
    2. Will the exam be timed? If so, how long will I have to complete it? 
    3. Are there options for the exam? Different ways I can demonstrate my content knowledge? 
    4. What will be the format? (e.g. open-book, multiple choice, essay, etc) 
    5. What content or weeks of the course will be covered in the exam? 
    6. What should I do if my internet is slow, unreliable, or fails during the exam? 
    7. Do I need to have Respondus lockdown browser for this exam? 
    8. Will it be proctored? 
    9. If it’s proctored, what software/equipment will I need? (e.g. Zoom, webcam, ProctorU account, etc) 
    10. Any recommendations for how to prepare for this exam? 
  • Click for more detailed PDF

    While our brains are capable of incredible processes, these processes require concentration and focus—both of which take energy and practice. The more we can do to minimize distractions, the more likely our brains are to maintain focus and retain material. Study space is key. Here are some elements to consider when setting up your study time and space:

    1. Make it your own & keep it consistent
    2. Make it for study only
    3. Remove distractions
    4. Be specific & set goals
    5. Set a schedule
    6. Have all that you need

    Things to keep in mind

    • If you’re learning remotely, your study space may also be where you attend live class sessions or visit office hours. 
    • Visual and physical cues may help create routine. Some people find it helpful to create a ritual or sequence of actions to prepare for studying, or to dress as they would if attending an in-person class. 
    • We all work best in different spaces or environments. Some people like organized, meticulous spaces; others appreciate creative chaos. Make your space one that works for you. 
    • If the space doesn’t work, take time to figure out why. Evaluate your study space, make changes, and work to create an environment where you can learn effectively. 

You can also check out these additional pages on our website:

Academic Success Tips

Plan Your Class Schedule